Celina Zerbinatti, PhD

Associate Research Professor, Pharmacology and Toxicology
Co-Director, Arizona Center for Drug Discovery

Celina Zerbinatti, PhD, is Co-Director of the Arizona Center for Drug Discovery (ACDD) and Associate Research Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy, Tucson. Dr. Zerbinatti obtained her BS, MS and PhD degrees from the University of São Paulo, Brazil, and completed her postdoctoral training at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, MO. Dr. Zerbinatti is an accomplished senior leader from the pharmaceutical sector. She gained extensive drug discovery experience at Merck Research Laboratories, where she led program teams in the area of neuroscience for almost 10 years. She then joined Evotec AG as the scientific and operational head of a broad drug discovery alliance on Huntington's disease with the CHDI Foundation. Expanding into the biotech sector, Dr. Zerbinatti was senior consultant for the Dementia Discovery Fund at SV Health Investors and Head of Biology at Escape Bio, a clinical stage biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of small molecule drugs to treat genetically-defined neurodegenerative disorders. Dr. Zerbinatti is currently a consultant for the Lieber Institute for Brain Development, a privately-funded institute affiliated with John Hopkins University focused on Schizophrenia research, and for Kisbee Therapeutics, a startup founded by Stuart Schreiber (Broad Institute), Ben Cravatt (Scripps) and Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz (HHMI Janelia) that is focused on the development of apolipoprotein E-based therapies for neurological disorders.


Areas of Interest:

Drug Discovery 
Target Validation
Assay Development 
High Throughput Screening
In Vitro Pharmacology
In Vivo Pharmacology
Disease Model Development
Biomarker Discovery

Education & Post Graduate Training: 

PhD, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, 1994
MS, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, 1988
BS, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, 1984

Professional Organizations: 

Society for Neuroscience

Select Publications


Stachel SJ, Ginnetti AT, Johnson SA, et al. "Identification of potent inhibitors of the sortilin-progranulin interaction." Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett.. 2020;30(17):127403. PMID: 32738972


Reindl W, Baldo B, Schulz J, et al. "Meso scale discovery-based assays for the detection of aggregated huntingtin." PLoS ONE. 2019;14(3):e0213521. PMCID: PMC6435127  PMID: 30913220


Cramer PE, Gentzel RC, Tanis KQ, et al. "Aging African green monkeys manifest transcriptional, pathological, and cognitive hallmarks of human Alzheimer's disease." Neurobiol. Aging. 2018;64:92-106. PMID: 29353102


Stachel SJ, Zerbinatti C, Rudd MT, et al. "Identification and in Vivo Evaluation of Liver X Receptor β-Selective Agonists for the Potential Treatment of Alzheimer's Disease." J. Med. Chem.. 2016;59(7):3489-98. PMID: 27011007